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The Taming of the Shrew

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ACT IV SCENE I PETRUCHIO'S country house. 
[Enter GRUMIO]
GRUMIOFie, fie on all tired jades, on all mad masters, and
all foul ways! Was ever man so beaten? was ever
man so rayed? was ever man so weary? I am sent
before to make a fire, and they are coming after to
warm them. Now, were not I a little pot and soon5
hot, my very lips might freeze to my teeth, my
tongue to the roof of my mouth, my heart in my
belly, ere I should come by a fire to thaw me: but
I, with blowing the fire, shall warm myself; for,
considering the weather, a taller man than I will10
take cold. Holla, ho! Curtis.
[Enter CURTIS]
CURTISWho is that calls so coldly?
GRUMIOA piece of ice: if thou doubt it, thou mayst slide
from my shoulder to my heel with no greater a run
but my head and my neck. A fire good Curtis.15
CURTISIs my master and his wife coming, Grumio?
GRUMIOO, ay, Curtis, ay: and therefore fire, fire; cast
on no water.
CURTISIs she so hot a shrew as she's reported?
GRUMIOShe was, good Curtis, before this frost: but, thou20
knowest, winter tames man, woman and beast; for it
hath tamed my old master and my new mistress and
myself, fellow Curtis.
CURTISAway, you three-inch fool! I am no beast.
GRUMIOAm I but three inches? why, thy horn is a foot; and25
so long am I at the least. But wilt thou make a
fire, or shall I complain on thee to our mistress,
whose hand, she being now at hand, thou shalt soon
feel, to thy cold comfort, for being slow in thy hot office?
CURTISI prithee, good Grumio, tell me, how goes the world?30
GRUMIOA cold world, Curtis, in every office but thine; and
therefore fire: do thy duty, and have thy duty; for
my master and mistress are almost frozen to death.
CURTISThere's fire ready; and therefore, good Grumio, the news.
GRUMIOWhy, 'Jack, boy! ho! boy!' and as much news as35
will thaw.
CURTISCome, you are so full of cony-catching!
GRUMIOWhy, therefore fire; for I have caught extreme cold.
Where's the cook? is supper ready, the house
trimmed, rushes strewed, cobwebs swept; the40
serving-men in their new fustian, their white
stockings, and every officer his wedding-garment on?
Be the jacks fair within, the jills fair without,
the carpets laid, and every thing in order?
CURTISAll ready; and therefore, I pray thee, news.45
GRUMIOFirst, know, my horse is tired; my master and
mistress fallen out.
GRUMIOOut of their saddles into the dirt; and thereby
hangs a tale.50
CURTISLet's ha't, good Grumio.
GRUMIOLend thine ear.
[Strikes him]
CURTISThis is to feel a tale, not to hear a tale.55
GRUMIOAnd therefore 'tis called a sensible tale: and this
cuff was but to knock at your ear, and beseech
listening. Now I begin: Imprimis, we came down a
foul hill, my master riding behind my mistress,--
CURTISBoth of one horse?60
GRUMIOWhat's that to thee?
CURTISWhy, a horse.
GRUMIOTell thou the tale: but hadst thou not crossed me,

thou shouldst have heard how her horse fell and she
under her horse; thou shouldst have heard in how65
miry a place, how she was bemoiled, how he left her
with the horse upon her, how he beat me because
her horse stumbled, how she waded through the dirt
to pluck him off me, how he swore, how she prayed,
that never prayed before, how I cried, how the70
horses ran away, how her bridle was burst, how I
lost my crupper, with many things of worthy memory,
which now shall die in oblivion and thou return
unexperienced to thy grave.
CURTISBy this reckoning he is more shrew than she.75
GRUMIOAy; and that thou and the proudest of you all shall
find when he comes home. But what talk I of this?
Call forth Nathaniel, Joseph, Nicholas, Philip,
Walter, Sugarsop and the rest: let their heads be
sleekly combed their blue coats brushed and their80
garters of an indifferent knit: let them curtsy
with their left legs and not presume to touch a hair
of my master's horse-tail till they kiss their
hands. Are they all ready?
CURTISThey are.85
GRUMIOCall them forth.
CURTISDo you hear, ho? you must meet my master to
countenance my mistress.
GRUMIOWhy, she hath a face of her own.
CURTISWho knows not that?90
GRUMIOThou, it seems, that calls for company to
countenance her.
CURTISI call them forth to credit her.
GRUMIOWhy, she comes to borrow nothing of them.
[Enter four or five Serving-men]
NATHANIELWelcome home, Grumio!95
PHILIPHow now, Grumio!
JOSEPHWhat, Grumio!
NICHOLASFellow Grumio!
NATHANIELHow now, old lad?
GRUMIOWelcome, you;--how now, you;-- what, you;--fellow,100
you;--and thus much for greeting. Now, my spruce
companions, is all ready, and all things neat?
NATHANIELAll things is ready. How near is our master?
GRUMIOE'en at hand, alighted by this; and therefore be
not--Cock's passion, silence! I hear my master.105
PETRUCHIOWhere be these knaves? What, no man at door
To hold my stirrup nor to take my horse!
Where is Nathaniel, Gregory, Philip?
ALL SERVING-MENHere, here, sir; here, sir.
PETRUCHIOHere, sir! here, sir! here, sir! here, sir!110
You logger-headed and unpolish'd grooms!
What, no attendance? no regard? no duty?
Where is the foolish knave I sent before?
GRUMIOHere, sir; as foolish as I was before.
PETRUCHIOYou peasant swain! you whoreson malt-horse drudge!115
Did I not bid thee meet me in the park,
And bring along these rascal knaves with thee?
GRUMIONathaniel's coat, sir, was not fully made,
And Gabriel's pumps were all unpink'd i' the heel;
There was no link to colour Peter's hat,120
And Walter's dagger was not come from sheathing:
There were none fine but Adam, Ralph, and Gregory;
The rest were ragged, old, and beggarly;
Yet, as they are, here are they come to meet you.
PETRUCHIOGo, rascals, go, and fetch my supper in.125
[Exeunt Servants]
Where is the life that late I led--
Where are those--Sit down, Kate, and welcome.--
Sound, sound, sound, sound!
[Re-enter Servants with supper]
Why, when, I say? Nay, good sweet Kate, be merry.
Off with my boots, you rogues! you villains, when?130
It was the friar of orders grey,
As he forth walked on his way:--
Out, you rogue! you pluck my foot awry:
Take that, and mend the plucking off the other.
[Strikes him]
Be merry, Kate. Some water, here; what, ho!135
Where's my spaniel Troilus? Sirrah, get you hence,
And bid my cousin Ferdinand come hither:
One, Kate, that you must kiss, and be acquainted with.
Where are my slippers? Shall I have some water?
[Enter one with water]
Come, Kate, and wash, and welcome heartily.140
You whoreson villain! will you let it fall?
[Strikes him]
KATHARINAPatience, I pray you; 'twas a fault unwilling.
PETRUCHIOA whoreson beetle-headed, flap-ear'd knave!
Come, Kate, sit down; I know you have a stomach.
Will you give thanks, sweet Kate; or else shall I?145
What's this? mutton?
First ServantAy.
PETRUCHIOWho brought it?
PETRUCHIO'Tis burnt; and so is all the meat.150
What dogs are these! Where is the rascal cook?
How durst you, villains, bring it from the dresser,
And serve it thus to me that love it not?
Theretake it to you, trenchers, cups, and all;
[Throws the meat, &c. about the stage]
You heedless joltheads and unmanner'd slaves!155
What, do you grumble? I'll be with you straight.
KATHARINAI pray you, husband, be not so disquiet:
The meat was well, if you were so contented.
PETRUCHIOI tell thee, Kate, 'twas burnt and dried away;
And I expressly am forbid to touch it,160
For it engenders choler, planteth anger;
And better 'twere that both of us did fast,
Since, of ourselves, ourselves are choleric,
Than feed it with such over-roasted flesh.
Be patient; to-morrow 't shall be mended,165
And, for this night, we'll fast for company:
Come, I will bring thee to thy bridal chamber.
[Re-enter Servants severally]
NATHANIELPeter, didst ever see the like?
PETERHe kills her in her own humour.
[Re-enter CURTIS]
GRUMIOWhere is he?170
CURTISIn her chamber, making a sermon of continency to her;
And rails, and swears, and rates, that she, poor soul,
Knows not which way to stand, to look, to speak,
And sits as one new-risen from a dream.
Away, away! for he is coming hither.175
[Re-enter PETRUCHIO]
PETRUCHIOThus have I politicly begun my reign,
And 'tis my hope to end successfully.
My falcon now is sharp and passing empty;
And till she stoop she must not be full-gorged,
For then she never looks upon her lure.180
Another way I have to man my haggard,
To make her come and know her keeper's call,
That is, to watch her, as we watch these kites
That bate and beat and will not be obedient.
She eat no meat to-day, nor none shall eat;185
Last night she slept not, nor to-night she shall not;
As with the meat, some undeserved fault
I'll find about the making of the bed;
And here I'll fling the pillow, there the bolster,
This way the coverlet, another way the sheets:190
Ay, and amid this hurly I intend
That all is done in reverend care of her;
And in conclusion she shall watch all night:
And if she chance to nod I'll rail and brawl
And with the clamour keep her still awake.195
This is a way to kill a wife with kindness;
And thus I'll curb her mad and headstrong humour.
He that knows better how to tame a shrew,
Now let him speak: 'tis charity to show.

Next: The Taming of the Shrew, Act 4, Scene 2


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How the horses ran away. Act 4, Scene 1. From the John Dennis edition. Illus. Byam Shaw, 1902.